FAQ: Will Apple’s New MagSafe Duo Charger Arrive in Time for Christmas?

Apple MagSafe Duo Is It Worth It 5 Credit: Matthew Panzarino / TechCrunch
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When Apple unveiled its iPhone 12 lineup last month, it came with a pleasant and unexpected surprise in the form of the new MagSafe accessory ecosystem, however, while Apple had a basic MagSafe wireless charger available on day one, the release date for the more sophisticated MagSafe Duo charger was considerably more vague.

In fact, Apple hadn’t even promised that we’d see it arrive this year, saying only at first that it was coming at some point in the future, and then listing it as “coming soon” on the Apple Store in early November.

Now, however, it looks like we may actually have a more concrete release date, thanks to a popular Swiss retailer that’s already taking pre-orders for the new Apple dual wireless charger.

As 9to5Mac discovered, Authorized Apple Reseller Digitec Galaxus has now begun offering the MagSafe Duo charger in its online store, allowing customers to order it today, for delivery as early as December 16th, which — if accurate — suggests that it should be landing in Apple’s own retail stores very soon.

With the exception of major products such as the iPhone, Apple very rarely offers products for preorder on its online store, so chances are that the MagSafe Duo won’t be available to order from the Apple Store until it’s actually ready to ship. Apple Authorized Resellers, however, aren’t necessarily under the same constraints, and it appears that Digitec Galaxus may have some intel as to when the charger is actually coming.

Or maybe not. Simply being an Apple Authorized Reseller doesn’t guarantee that the retailer has an inside track with Apple, and the listing on the company’s website could just be a placeholder, although it’s worth noting that the dates have also been updated at least once, as 9to5Mac originally reported a timeframe of Dec. 21–29, and it seems unlikely that these dates would have been updated if they were mere placeholders.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that Apple has already sent out MagSafe Duo units to reviewers, which suggests that the product is finished and ready to launch, as Apple never sends out prototypes or preview versions of its products — what reviews get into their hands should be identical to what will be sold to consumers.

This likely means that the launch delay is more about Apple ensuring that it’s manufactured enough units to keep up with projected demand.

Should I Buy the MagSafe Duo?

Of course, the bigger question is whether you should necessarily care, since MagSafe Duo is expensive by wireless charging standards, and it’s definitely not without its faults, especially considering the $129 asking price.

In fact, in an early review last month, TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino came away decidedly unimpressed with the wireless charger, noting that although it works precisely as advertised, the design and manufacturing isn’t up to Apple’s standards, and therefore doesn’t justify the high price tag — especially since it doesn’t even ship with the actual charging brick; as Panzarino notes, it “feels like it should be $70.”

Perhaps adding a bit of insult to injury, the MagSafe Duo is also an example of the confusing mess of Apple’s MagSafe ecosystem right now. While Apple’s standalone MagSafe charger can offer 15W of charging juice with a proper 20W USB-C adapter, the MagSafe Duo actually drops that to 11W unless you’re willing to shell out for a 27-watt brick, in which case you still won’t get 15W, but only 14W.

Keep in mind that for the fastest charging, you’re still far better to just take Apple’s 20W USB charger and plug it directly into your iPhone 12 Lightning port. This will offer charging speeds that are at least twice as fast as the best MagSafe charger.

Although we chalk these discrepancies up to the laws of physics, since there’s no reason why Apple would deliberately make this so confusing, it’s still valid to argue that Apple should have figured out a way to make things much more standard. At the same time, however, most users probably won’t notice significant differences in the charging speeds, and they’re all still a huge upgrade over the 7.5-watt maximum that’s been supported by every previous Qi-compatible iPhone model.

Still, for $148 — the price of the MagSafe Duo plus the sold-separately charging brick — you can probably do a lot better with any number of third-party accessories, especially if you’re willing to give up the actual MagSafe aspect — the iPhone 12 still works just fine with any standard Qi charger, albeit at the slower 7.5-watt charging speed.

Charging Alternatives to Consider

The MagSafe Duo has a certain appeal for road warriors who like to travel light, but even if you want to stick with Apple-branded accessories, you can get Apple’s standard MagSafe charger for $39 and Apple’s first-party Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock for $79 — $11 less than the price of the MagSafe Duo, but even Apple sells third-party Apple Charging Docks for even less, and there are also far nicer combo units if you only need something that will rest on your bedside table.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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